California water politics + Spending cap-and-trade windfall + Unity in age of Trump

Jack Ohman goes to California’s national monuments with Doug LaMalfa and Tom McClintock. Take the tour here.

Our take


What California should do with cap-and-trade windfall: Turn diesel trucks and buses green: Rather than squander $1.4 billion on shiny environmentally correct objects, legislators should target the cap-and-trade revenue where it would count most, transportation.


Marcos Breton: In the darkness of the Donald Trump era, this Sacramento museum is offering some much-needed light.


Nancy Peverini: Forced arbitration hurts you and protects corporations. Here’s how to fix it: Forced arbitration eliminates our constitutional right to a civil jury trial. Senate Bill 33 by Bill Dodd, D-Napa, would ensure customers don’t give up their day in court.

Naveen Atray: SEIU-UHW is pushing Senate Bill 349, which would impose mandatory staffing ratios in hundreds of clinics that treat more than 60,000 patients with kidney failure. We need to be increasing access to dialysis care, not legislating policy that will restrict it.

California Forum

Tom Umberg: Get ready to spill a lot more U.S. blood and spend a lot more U.S. money, says a California leader who served there. What Americans need to know about Trump’s plan for Afghanistan.

Laura Brill: California schools are supposed to be promoting voter registration. So why isn’t that happening?

Kate Karpilow: California’s paid family leave program is a national model. Shouldn’t state workers get it, too?

On behalf of The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board, welcome to The Take, your opinion-politics newsletter. Please sign up for it here.

Take a number: $8.877 billion

As legislators mull a $4 billion water and parks bond measure, Gerald Meral, initiative promoter, kayaker and former Jerry Brown administration water official, is busily raising money for his latest project, an $8.877 billion water bond, for the November 2018 ballot. The money would pay for groundwater projects, drinking water, and perhaps a second cross-San Joaquin Valley canal, so East Side farmers could more readily wheel water to and from the State Water Project. A pipe dream, perhaps, but Meral, the former head of the Planning and Conservation League, has raised $185,000, including $100,000 from the California Wildlife Foundation, and additional sums from growers. Environmental lawyer Joe Caves also is contemplating a water bond. Meral said he’d stand down, if Brown and legislative leaders add some of the projects he envisions into Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León’s bond, Senate Bill 5. It’s all part of the end of session brinkmanship.

Their take

Lexington Herald Leader: There’s no good explanation, no budgetary or scientific reason for ending a federal study into the possible health effects of living near surface coal mining in Appalachia. This study is well underway. The only reason the Trump administration would pull the plug now is to please the coal industry.

Los Angeles Times: President Trump hinted Tuesday night that he planned to pardon former Arizona Sheriff Joseph Arpaio for his federal contempt of court conviction. If Trump makes good on that semi-veiled promise, he won’t be delivering a gift of mercy to a deserving and repentant offender. He’ll be rewarding a political friend and supporter who shares his abhorrence of illegal immigration and his affection for draconian enforcement strategies. Trump would again exhibit his own contempt for the courts.

San Diego Union-Tribune: The apparent death of 10 sailors on Monday after the USS John S. McCain, a Navy destroyer, collided with an oil tanker near Singapore was the fourth accident involving a Navy warship in Asian waters this year. This awful record shows the necessity of Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson’s decision to launch a broad inquiry into Navy operations.

Santa Rosa Press Democrat: After Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act failed dramatically in the U.S. Senate, President Donald Trump wavered between trying to cajole senators to try again and petulantly declaring that a deal would come after Obamacare implodes. But there are clear signs the Obamacare exchanges are stabilizing. We’re especially lucky here.

Orange County Register: After a long review of America’s disappointing military strategy in Afghanistan, President Trump announced a new plan that’s light on details and heavy on familiar messaging. With a few shifts in rhetoric, Trump’s address unveiling the plan could have come from Hillary Clinton, or perhaps even Barack Obama.

Baltimore Sun: If there is an argument to be made that after 16 years of a U.S. military presence in Afghanistan of various proportions, big, small and in-between, this is exactly the time to send an unspecified number of additional troops for an unspecified amount of time to that war-torn country, President Donald Trump failed to make it in his much-anticipated speech Monday evening.

Minneapolis Star Tribune: In his address to the nation on Afghanistan, President Donald Trump was essentially correct in his analysis of many aspects of the conflict. But the opaque nature of his plan and what constitutes victory leaves Americans uncertain about the next chapter in America’s longest war.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: There’s only one real indicator of victory in Afghanistan, and President Donald Trump skipped past it in his speech Monday night. Victory in this nearly 16-year U.S. war will come when the Afghan people stand unified behind their government.

Syndicates’ take

Carl P. Leubsdorf: An aggressive campaign is being mounted by the Democrats’ left wing to inflict its positions on the party as a whole as it seeks to prepare for the difficult, state-by-state slog to reverse recent Republican gains and retake the White House in 2020.

Dana Milbank: Which way the flow goes now in these early days of the post-Bannon White House could well be determinative – not just for the Trump presidency but for the country as it grapples with a re-emergence of white supremacists.

Jennifer Rubin: A president who lost the popular vote has picked fights with and/or been rebuked by some of the alt-right, the business community, organized labor, many if not most GOP senators, the mainstream media, a chunk of the conservative media, the vast majority of nonwhite voters, a majority of college-educated whites and independents.

Martin Schram: Journalists are increasingly in danger of becoming targets of convenience simply for doing their jobs. It now seems obvious that, sooner or later, Donald Trump’s torrent of hateful invectives and flat-out falsehoods will inevitably incite some wrongheaded individual into falling for Trump’s sick lie that the news media is America’s enemy.


Jim Brulte’s tactics reek of the partisan practices that alienate voters, the very same politics-as-usual Josh Newman was elected to fight. – Julie Lautsch, Sacramento

Tweet of the day

“Trying to keep track of @realDonaldTrump Mon.: love and unity. Tues.: anarchists and #FakeNews Wed. patriotism and service. #makeupyourmind” – Foon Rhee‏, @foonrhee